Burnt Basque Cheesecake (Tarta de Queso)

A fully baked, dark, and rustic Burnt Basque Cheesecake sitting on crumpled parchment paper.

Burnt Basque Cheesecake is a rustic cheesecake baked to caramelized perfection. This crustless cheesecake is simple to make, yet sure to impress everyone at the table.

Desserts that are dressed to impress and take very little effort are a lifesaver! If you aren’t a baker or are just short on time, here are a few recipes that will wow your guests. They’ll never know how little work you put into this Frozen Peanut Butter Cake or these elegant Baked Cinnamon Apples. Both are a great way to end a dinner party or family gathering.

A fully baked, dark, and rustic Burnt Basque Cheesecake sitting on crumpled parchment paper.

Burnt Basque Cheesecake

Bakers and non-bakers unite! A Burnt Basque Cheesecake is the epitome of rustic elegance. The simple cheesy batter is silky smooth and whips up in no time. However, it’s the high baking temperature that gives this dessert its rustic, burnt appearance and intense caramel flavour.

The outside looks burnt but is only highly caramelized, while the inside remains soft and creamy. This contrast between flavours and textures is what makes this cheesecake so irresistible.

It’s no mystery that caramelization equals flavour and wow, this dessert has bags of it! The creamy soft interior is sharply contrasted by sweet, yet toasty (verging on bitter) exterior. Since this cheesecake is crustless (there’s no graham crumbs here!), the structure of this Basque beauty is entirely due to the caramelized crust that forms on the sides.

Furthermore, this cheesecake recipe only contains 1/2 cup flour. Replace it with the same amount of gluten free flour substitute and this dessert is entirely gluten free.

A fully baked, dark, and rustic Burnt Basque Cheesecake sitting on crumpled parchment paper.

What is a Burnt Basque Cheesecake?

A Burnt Basque Cheesecake, or Torta de Queso, is a crustless baked cheesecake that hails from San Sebastián Spain, in the Basque region (hence the name). More specifically, it was invented by La Viña restaurant chef/owner Santiago Rivera Jiménez in the 1990’s.

This small bar is now very famous to both locals and tourists, serving slice after slice of cheesecake, usually accompanied by a small glass of sherry. On average, they bake over 100 cakes per day!

Ingredients required to make a Burnt Basque Cheesecake.

Ingredients

Thankfully, chef Santiago Rivera Jiménez generously shares his famous recipe and encourages eager bakers to adjust it according to their own preferences. Like chef, I highly encourage you to adjust this recipe to make it your own.

  • Cream Cheese
  • Sugar
  • Eggs
  • Heavy Cream
  • Flour
  • Salt
  • Vanilla Extract

Simple ingredients like full fat cream cheese and heavy cream (at least 36 % mf) make this dessert decadent. They are irreplaceable, meaning do not try to use light cream cheese or light cream.

As mentioned previously, you can substitute gluten free flour for the all purpose flour to make this dessert entirely gluten free.

The original recipe did not contain salt or vanilla extract, however I love how these flavourings enhance both the creamy cheese and caramelized outer crust of the cake.

Cheesecake batter being mixed in a stand mixer.

How to Make a Burnt Basque Cheesecake

Aside from proper baking, the most important step when making this dessert is a silky smooth cream cheese batter. There should be absolutely no lumps or air bubbles in the batter before you pour it in the baking pan.

The first step to achieving a smooth batter is using room temperature ingredients, especially the cream cheese. In fact, don’t be afraid to soften it further for a few seconds in the microwave if your kitchen is a bit chilly. An easy way to warm fridge temperature eggs is to place them in a bowl of hot water for 5 minutes.

Creamy cheesecake batter in a parchment lined springform pan.

Mix the Cheesecake Batter

Preheat oven to 400 F. Grease the bottom and sides of a 10 inch springform pan and line the entire pan with two sheets of parchment paper. Then, grease the parchment paper like you did with the pan.

In the mixing bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine softened cream cheese and sugar. Beat them together on medium low speed, about 30 seconds or until smooth. Add one egg at a time to cream cheese mixture and mix until everything is incorporated, about 1 minute.

Next, add heavy cream, salt and vanilla extract to the bowl. Continue mixing on low speed until the mixture is smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with the spatula couple of times during the mixing process. Do not overmix.

A fully baked, dark, and rustic Burnt Basque Cheesecake sitting on crumpled parchment paper.

Finally, add sifted flour and mix just until everything is incorporated. Do not overmix. The batter should be smooth and silky but not contain any incorporated air. If there are lumps, strain the batter through a mesh strainer.

Baking the Cheesecake

Pour batter into the prepared pan and use spatula or back of a spoon to smooth out the top, if necessary. Tap the pan a few times on the counter to ensure there are no air bubbles.

Bake cheesecake at 400 F for 45 to 50 minutes. It is done when the top becomes dark golden brown or dark brown and it still wobbles when shaken gently. If you find that the top is darkening too quickly, gently place a sheet of aluminium foil over top.

Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack. Let cheesecake cool to room temp before releasing from the pan. Gently coax the cake from the parchment paper and serve.

A fully baked, dark, and rustic Burnt Basque Cheesecake sitting on crumpled parchment paper with a slice missing.

How to Serve a Basque Cheesecake

Traditionally, a Basque Burnt Cheesecake is served at room temperature without any toppings other than a side of Spanish sherry. However, you are free to add any toppings you desire. A light drizzle of salted caramel sauce or chocolate sauce might be nice, as would macerated blueberries or strawberries.

A fully baked, dark, and rustic Burnt Basque Cheesecake sitting on crumpled parchment paper with a slice missing.

Recipe Tips and Tricks

  1. Use only full fat cream cheese and heavy whipping cream.
  2. Use a springform pan with high sides and a removable bottom.
  3. Double line the pan with parchment paper and grease it well with butter.
  4. Ensure the batter is silky smooth with no lumps or air bubbles.
  5. Allow the top of the cheesecake to darken while baking but cover with aluminum foil if it darkens too quickly.
  6. The cake should still be a bit wobbly when you remove it from the oven.
  7. Unlike other cheesecakes, this one is removed from the oven to cool at room temperature.
  8. Serve Burnt Basque Cheesecake at room temperature for the best flavour.
A fully baked, dark, and rustic Burnt Basque Cheesecake sitting on crumpled parchment paper with a slice missing.

How to Store Leftovers

Unless you are serving a large group of dessert eaters, you will have leftovers (hooray!). This cake will keep in the fridge for up to four days. Place a sheet of plastic wrap on the exposed cut areas and cover it well.

This dessert also freezes well. My father in law likes to wrap each slice individually and thaw one out whenever the craving hits him (which is often!). Allow the slice to thaw overnight in the fridge then on the counter until it reaches room temperature.

A slice of crustless Burnt Basque Cheesecake showing the interior texture.
Pinterest image featuring A fully baked, dark, and rustic Burnt Basque Cheesecake with a slice cut and served on a plate.

If you make this Burnt Basque Cheesecake recipe, please be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Pinterest for my latest recipes. Also, if you do make this recipe please, tag me on Instagram, I’d love to see what you guys are making! Thank you so much for reading my blog.

Yield: 10 servings

Burnt Basque Cheesecake

A fully baked, dark, and rustic Burnt Basque Cheesecake sitting on crumpled parchment paper.

Burnt Basque Cheesecake is a rustic cheesecake baked to caramelized perfection. This crustless cheesecake is simple to make, yet sure to impress everyone at the table. *makes one 10 inch cheesecake

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 blocks cream cheese; room temperature
  • 5-6 large eggs; room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups heavy cream (36%)
  • 1/2 cup flour; sifted
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • butter for greasing the pan

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Grease the bottom and sides of a 10 in springform pan and line the entire pan with parchment paper. Then, grease the parchment paper like you did with the pan. Lastly, cut another large piece of parchment and line the pan a second time.
  2. In a mixing bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine softened
    cream cheese and sugar. Beat on medium low speed, about 30 seconds or until smooth.
  3. Add one egg at a time to cream cheese mixture and mix until everything is incorporated, about 1 minute.
  4. Next, add heavy cream, salt and vanilla extract to the bowl. Continue mixing on low speed until the mixture is smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with the spatula couple of times during the mixing process. Do not overmix.
  5. Finally, add sifted flour and mix just until everything is incorporated. Do not overmix. The batter should be smooth and silky but not contain any incorporated air. If there are lumps, strain the batter through a mesh strainer.
  6. Pour batter into the prepared pan and use spatula or back of a spoon to smooth out the top if necessary.
  7. Bake at 400 F for 45 to 50 minutes. The cheesecake is done with the top becomes dark golden brown or dark brown* and the cake still moves when you gently shake it. *If you find that the top is darkening too quickly, gently place a sheet of aluminium foil over top.
  8. Remove cheesecake from the oven and place on a cooling rack. Allow to cool to room temperature before releasing from the pan. Gently coax the cake from the parchment paper and serve.





Notes

*If you find that the top is darkening too quickly, gently place a sheet of aluminium foil over top.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

10

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving:Calories: 426Total Fat: 29gSaturated Fat: 17gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 191mgSodium: 212mgCarbohydrates: 37gFiber: 0gSugar: 32gProtein: 7g

Nutritional calculation was provided by Nutritionix and is an estimation only. For special diets or medical issues please use your preferred calculator.

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37 comments

  1. Berenice Barraza

    Hello Bernice,

    Would this recipe still work if I use a 9inch pan? Looks so delicious.

    Thank you!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Hi Berenice. I haven’t tested it with a 9 inch pan. It does fluff up quite a bit during baking…I would suggest to make sure you have the parchment paper liner go past the top of the pan and place a baking sheet underneath to catch any spills. Just in case.

  2. Heidy

    Up till the other day, I had never had Burnt Basque Cheesecake and was very pleasantly surprised with the flavor and textures. It was super easy to make.

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      I’m so happy to introduce you to this amazing cheesecake. I hope it quickly becomes one of your favourites.

    2. Berenice

      Thank you so much I will try that.

  3. Loreto and Nicoletta

    This cheesecake is just amazing Bernice! Love the top so caramelized and for me that means incredible caramel flavor. Perfect with that creamy cheese middle! Just love it. Going to have to try this!😋🥰❤👍👌🙏
    Well done, beautiful photo!🥰

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Thank you so much Loreto and Nicoletta. It’s amazing how much flavour the caramelization brings to this dessert.

  4. Tristin

    I have been looking for burnt Basque cheesecake and your pictures look amazing. I will be making it tomorrow!!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Oh! great to hear Tristin. Let me know if you have any further questions and happy baking!

  5. Katie Crenshaw

    This cheesecake turns out AMAZING! It is so creamy and rich with the extra flavor of the burnt caramelized sugar crust. We loved it.

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      oh wow that makes me very happy to hear you loved it so much. Thank you for trying my recipe!

  6. Lauren Michael Harris

    I have always wanted to try a burnt basque cheesecake. This recipe is so good – it’s easy enough to make to be enjoyed anytime!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      It really is. I made another one to share on Sunday. So easy!

  7. Liz

    I have never tried making a crustless cheesecake before, but the pictures look delicious! I will have to give this a try, as I am a huge cheesecake lover!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      It’s so much simpler to make! You just have to trust that it’s done when it’s still wobbly.

  8. Katie Youngs

    Caramelizing makes everything better! I love that this cheesecake has a caramelized crust and creamy center. I’m definitely adding this to my list of Easter recipes to make!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Oh, it really does. This recipe is a keeper. Thanks for coming by Katie.

  9. Marcellina

    If presentation is king then this cheesecake hits the mark! That dark crust contrasting with the creamy pale inside is stunning. I love baked cheesecake but this one is even better than any other! Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      It really is a step above your average cheesecake.

  10. Nora

    This is pretty much the best kind of cheesecake! So moist! So delicious! There you just can not stop!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      I sure can’t…it’s dangerous to have one in the house!

  11. Jerika

    Wow! I can’t wait to try this Burnt Basque Cheesecake!!!:) I’m sure my fam will love it. And will definitely adding this on our list of favorite treats.:)YUM!!!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      I’m sure they’ll love it too Jerika. Happy baking!

  12. Freya

    I would love to be able to make an egg free version but I do think they’re an integral part of this amazing classic recipe!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Yeah, I don’t think I can recommend a suitable substitute. They eggs are there for richness, not as a leavening agent.

  13. Marta

    I’m absolutely obsessed with the complexity of the flavors in this Basque cheesecake. The caramelization from the sugars in the cake was insanely delicious. So good!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Excellent to hear Marta. Glad you enjoyed!

  14. Veronika Sykorova

    Made this last night for our family get-together today and it came out amazing! Portioned it out so I could try it and it was delicious!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      So glad to hear your family loved it Veronika. Thanks for trying my recipe.

  15. Heather

    I had heard of this cheesecake but never tried it! The inside is so creamy and delicious! Cheesecake perfection.

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      It’s so worth a try! I hope you get a chance to bake it Heather.

  16. Gloria

    I have tried lots of cheesecakes, but not this kind. I am very intrigued and need to give this a try. Might be the perfect Easter dessert.

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      I baked another one yesterday to share with the kids and there’s barely any left!!

  17. Anne

    So easy to make! Cheesecake is my favorite Easter dessert.

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Same and it is dangerously easy to make!

  18. Shelby

    I love that there weren’t very man ingredients in this! Made it easy to whip up!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      So easy! I made another one yesterday!

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